Traveling library helping underserved youth in Merced County

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the sleepy Merced County town of Gustine, kids patiently await a different kind of school bus.

This one won't take them to class.

But adults getting the first look inside know the free books and clothing can help change lives.

The bus will be driven to other under-served communities like Santa Nella and Newman.

"This is great," says Ollie Alanis, "It's got seats, it's got clothing they can choose from, activities."

23-year-old Zachery Ramos is the brains behind the bus.

"The plan is that we're going to drive it around to community events, schools that invite us out," he said. "Just have a fun time showing the kids what's inside, giving them free books."

Donations from companies like Hershey's and Cordeiro Construction have helped Zachery establish a headquarters and now a traveling library.

"This comes a very far way from when I first started pushing a little ice cream cart," he said.

Zachery figures he's collected and given away tens of thousands of books over the years.

In May, $10,000 worth of Disney books will be donated and made available for families.

"It helps show to them that their community cares about their education and making sure they can reach the highest heights they can," he said.

Ramos hopes other communities can serve kids in a similar way.

"If you see a need, fill a need," he said.

Ramos was elected to the Gustine school board in 2020.
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